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Durham University

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Publication details

Lourenço, Mónica Andrade, Ana Isabel & Byram, Michael (2020). Representations of internationalisation at a Portuguese Higher Education Institution: From institutional discourse to stakeholders’ voices. Revista Lusófona de Educação 47(47): 53-68.

Author(s) from Durham


Internationalisation has become a major concern of higher education
institutions around the world, featuring as a goal in their mission statements and agendas. Yet, the ways it is perceived and addressed vary
greatly. In some cases, internationalisation is viewed as a service to export, whilst in other cases the focus falls on the acquisition and development of graduates’ global and intercultural competences. This paper
reports on a study that aimed to understand how internationalisation is
perceived at a Portuguese Higher Education Institution. To achieve this
goal institutional policy documents were collected, and semi-structured
interviews were conducted with members of governing and coordinating
bodies, as well as with academic and non-academic staff. Results from
thematic analysis suggest that internationalisation is seen as a priority
at the highest strategic level, being associated with a set of activities
(student mobility, international research projects, and English-medium
instruction) and with a set of desired outcomes (increased revenues and
institutional visibility). Moreover, stakeholders consider internationalisation a valuable asset for the development of students’ skills, expressing positive attitudes towards such initiatives as “internationalisation at
home”. Based on these findings, recommendations for a more comprehensive and sustainable internationalisation approach applicable to other
contexts are put forward.